Panera Bread is losing 100-percent of its workforce every single year. Why is that?
What if I told you that Panera Bread, a fast-casual restaurant in the same stratosphere as Chipotle, has to replace all of its workers every year due to employee turnover? You would think I was making it up, right? Well, it’s true, Panera has a 100% employee turnover every single year.
When I first read the story, I had to do a double take. Quick personal admission: Panera Bread is one of my favorite fast-casual restaurants. Their soups are awesome, and I also love the fact that you can get as many free refills as you want out of their drink machine. It’s also a great place to do work from your laptop.
Imagine my face when I read that Panera has to replace its workforce every year, and that this is considered “good” in the fast-food industry. How in the world is replacing all of your workers every year a “good thing?” Because, according to Panera Bread SFO Michael Bufano, the chain is actually below the turnover margin for a typical fast-food restaurant.
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"“In the restaurant industry, turnover is 130%, turning over more than a full workforce every year,” Bufano told CNBC."
So if you’ve ever wondered why it was so easy to land a job at McDonald’s, this is why, but the whole picture is a little bit more complicated.
For the past few decades, fast-food chains have moved to standardize their positions, essentially “take the skill out of them.” This move is why many fast-food outlets will have single-digit wages than other professions, and also why there is so much turnover within the industry.
When a fast-food outlet loses a worker, the pay is so marginalized that it doesn’t even come as a cost to the company. They can easily replace them. So when you see your favorite worker at Panera Bread the next time, don’t get too attached, because more often than not, they’ll be gone by the end of the year. Reading that, this actually made me sad.
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